Home > Psychedelic science in post-covid psychiatry.

Kelly, John R and Crockett, Matthew T and Alexander, Lauren and Haran, Maeve and Baker, Annie and Burke, Lisa and Brennan, Christine and O'Keane, Veronica (2020) Psychedelic science in post-covid psychiatry. Irish Journal of Psychological Medicine, pp. 1-18. doi: 10.1017/ipm.2020.94.

The medium to long term consequences of COVID-19 are not yet known, though an increase in mental health problems are predicted. Multidisciplinary strategies across socio-economic and psychological levels may be needed to mitigate the mental health burden of COVID-19. Preliminary evidence from the rapidly progressing field of psychedelic science, shows that psilocybin assisted psychotherapy (PAP), offers a promising trans-diagnostic treatment strategy for a range of disorders with restricted and maladaptive habitual patterns of cognition and behaviour, notably depression, addiction and obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD).

The COMPASS pathways, phase 2b double blind trial of PAP in antidepressant-free, treatment resistant depression (TRD) is underway across 19 research sites, to determine the safety, efficacy and optimal dose of psilocybin. Results from the Imperial College London Psilodep-RCT comparing the efficacy and mechanisms of action of PAP to the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) escitalopram will soon be published. However, the efficacy and safety of PAP in conjunction with SSRIs in TRD is not yet known. A new COMPASS study, with a centre in Dublin, will answer this question, with implications for the future delivery of PAP. While at an early stage of clinical development, and notwithstanding the immense challenges of COVID-19, PAP is likely to play an important therapeutic role for certain disorders in post COVID-19 clinical psychiatry.

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